All Good Things Must Come To An End

After Jon Diebler hit a three-pointer at the top of the key with about thirty seconds left to go to tie the game against the Kentucky Wildcats 60 to 60, the glimmer of hope that had only seconds before been briefly snuffed was shining brightly again. Then, as Kentucky freshman Brandon Knight floated in the air, over the challenging outstretched arm of freshman Aaron Craft, I felt like Switch in The Matrix moments before having her plugged pulled. “Not like this.”

“Not like this.”

Then, almost as if Hollywood itself had written the script, Craft, Buford and Diebler raced down the court trying to catch Kentucky on their heels. The pass went over to Buford and a he had a fairly open look right at the rim. And, just like all night long, the iron was no kind to Buford as the shot clanged off the rim and time expired. Just like that, it was over.

It’s cliche to say, but on that day, Kentucky came to play. They had a defensive game plan and it bothered the Buckeyes all game long. Literally. Their length was a distinct advantage and the hands contesting every shot were super effective. The decision to man up Jared Sullinger with Harrelson was risky but the guy they call “Jorts” played out of his mind (and occasionally all over Sully’s head) and the plan worked out. Defense was something that the Buckeyes had quietly hung their hard hats on but it was the Kentucky defense and their ability to stay out of foul trouble in the second half that did the Buckeyes in this night.

I hope no MotSaG’ers are down on Buford after this game. Yes, he struggled all night and never found his rhythm. But it’s not all on him. His body of work speaks for itself. He has been a model Buckeye for three years and a shooter’s got to keep shooting. How picture perfect and fitting it would have been if that final shot had gone in. But it didn’t and no one should blame Buford for the loss. There were multiple chances for the Buckeyes to pull away and they didn’t take advantage of them. So LEAVE BUFORD ALONE.

Finally, there is a lot to be excited about for the future. Both Aaron Craft and Jared Sullinger played great. Two solid freshmen getting that kind of tournament experience can only lead to big things for the years to come. Especially if they’re joined by Buford next season.

This team was a blast to watch, one of my favorites of all time. It’s such a shame it had to end like this.

Comments

  1. German Buckeye says

    Can’t say much – we shot poorly and played against a good team. We lost. Was hard to sleep Saturday morning. WB had a poor game, if he makes even 30% of his shots, we win by 6 points. Would have been preferable to have Diebs get the last crack but apparently Craft couldnt find him on the last shot (would have liked a time out there to set up a play – had over 4 seconds). Great season, proud of the team and seniors especially. To sit and make room for a freshman (Lauderdale) speaks highly of his character and leadership. We should challenge again to go all the way next season – looking forward to that!

  2. It was a great game. One that will probably go down as the best in the tournament this year if not one of the best all time. But two things: You all were already looking past us when you stepped out on that court (when you play Kentucky that’s a no-no). What do you mean not like this? Not against a tough defensive team with a number of scoring threats or what? I think you ment this “no, not Kentucky, we can’t be knocked out by kentucky!” but that’s just me… Go Wildcats!

  3. el K, yep, it was one helluva ride this season, really fun to watch. As much as WB is the poster child for the loss, there were a few other agonizing morsels; if a couple more foul shots would have been made, if we had made a couple more layups, etc. Cumulation of a few things would have made a difference.

    David C; I think you misinterpreted the article. My “no, not like this” take is OSU tied the game very late, only to have a contested KY shot go in, finally having a last second chance of redemption go askew. Or something like that.

  4. Sorry, eK – criticism of Failford’s performance is warranted. His body of work isn’t at issue, his 2 of 16 shooting is. Had nothing to do with KY’s defense (which is getting way too much credit).

    OSU lost, plain and simple, because they hit a cold spell in shooting percentage. Still, as rough as Lighty and 3bler had it, they only really cooled off to “human” standards. But Bufail’s slump was inexcusable – twelve percent. Even if he had managed to shoot THIRTEEN percent, OSU would have won.

    In short, with all the Buckeyes struggling and playing their worst game of the season, they still played good enough to beat a good (thug-filled) KY team. But Bufailford didn’t struggle, he simply choked. Shame on Matta for sticking with him.

  5. @DaviD C – My reference to “not like this” is referring to the game coming down to a last second shot. I’m not a big fan of buzzer beaters.

    Ken got it right :/

    @sM – I respectfully disagree that Buford’s slump was inexcusable. All jump-shooters are told to “keep shooting.” I mostly blame Matta for not benching him for a stretch. A few minutes to calm down could have down him wonders.

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